I’ve written often about the hypocrisy of politicians in the past, but nothing prepared me for the full story on President Obama’s latest display of unmasked hypocrisy. Ending the school voucher program in Washington DC is a blatant slap in the face of anyone who thought this type of behavior would change.
When I first heard about the school program ending in DC, killed by a complicit Barak Obama and the Democrats in Congress, the cynic in me just sighed and thought “ok, of course, the teacher’s unions are getting their payback now.” Little did I know just how much the administration had to give up and step on its own words to get to that place.
For those that aren’t aware, President Obama recently signed into law (in the spending bill) the phasing out of the DC program if the Congress didn’t specifically authorize the program to continue in next year’s budget. No sooner had this law been signed did Education Secretary Arne Duncan rescinded all scholorships already offered to children for next year, ensuring the plan’s demise.
As Shikha Dalmia points out:
Against this grim reality, one would have thought an administration that ran on the theme of hope would do anything to nurture a program that offers a way out of D.C.’s hope-killing factories and into other schools.
But, that’s not the whole story. Apparently there is also the news that the Obama administration actually sat on a study its own Education Department completed weeks earlier that showed, clearly, that the plan was succeeding.
In fact, the program, with per-pupil costs that are a third of what D.C. public schools spend, is producing solid gains for the 1,700 predominantly poor and minority children it serves. Indeed, the first batch of children who received vouchers from the program for private schools is now 19 months ahead of its public school peers in reading–which is why there are four applicants for every available slot.
So, not only has the administration sacrificed transparency, something it swore it would provide during this administration and has fought hard against actually implementing, there are several other ways in which this administration has worked against itself to provide for their financial supporters:
* President Obama told us many times that, unlike the Bush administration, his would not ignore science when it went against political policy. In fact, when asked about the Washington DC program specifically while running for office he stated “Let’s see if it [the voucher program] works, and if it does, whatever my preconceptions, you do what’s best for the kids.” Yet far from being led by the scientific evidence, he concealed it and did the opposite.
* President Obama tells us that we need deficit spending to fund anything and everything, including bailing out failed businesses, building out infrastructure, weatherproofing schools, etc. But $15 million for a successful program that helps the most needy in DC is too costly.
* President Obama campaigned on the promise to lead an administration free of special-interest politics. But it is clear that special-interest politics is what drove this bus.
* President Obama sent his kids to private school in that very same school system. Apparently the school system is good enough for everyone else’s kids but not his own. At least Jimmy Carter had the balls to live up to his own words by sending his daughter to public school. In fact, two of the classmates of his daughters won’t be next year as their scholarships have been pulled from them.
The bad part is that those who already have seen that this administration is willing to bend the rules for political partisanship and special interest will only be emboldened, but those who put blinders on that there can be any wrong done by this administration will work hard to defend this indefensible decision by the President to sit on scientific evidence and end a successful program.
This administration, just like every administration before, has proven that they deserve no benefit of the doubt. All actions must be scrutinized and examined fully. If only there were a news medium seen by the majority of Americans that was interested in doing something like that honestly and without bias?
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